BAGHDAD -- Gen. Talib al Kenani commands the elite American-trained counter terrorist forces that have been leading the fight against ISIS for two years.
“I’m a four star general, and I’m banned from entering the U.S.?” he said.
His family was relocated to the U.S. for their safety, and he’d had plans to see them next week, until he was told not to bother.
“I have been fighting terrorism for 13 years and winning,” he said. “Now my kids are now asking if I’m a terrorist?”
CBS News met the general at his heavily fortified compound inside the Green Zone.
For the past decade, Kenani has been travelling to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida for high-level meetings with the U.S. military leadership.
“There are many American troops here in Iraq,” he said. “After this ban how are we supposed to deal with each other?”
The ban comes just as Iraqi and U.S. forces are on the verge of victory in Mosul, and just when President Donald Trump has asked his military commanders to accelerate the war against militants.
“This ban needs to be reviewed,” Kenani said. “We thought we were partners with our American friends, and now we realize that we’re just considered terrorists.”
The general said he may try again to travel later this week, but he still doesn’t have any guarantee he won’t be turned around. He said the ban came as a shock, and no one in his circles had any idea it was coming.